In an ideal world, we would all like to get along with everybody. Unfortunately, it is simply not realistic. Incompatible personalities are part and parcel of today’s workplace, whether we are physically together or working remotely.
Disrespectful behaviour in the workplace takes many forms, from subtle comments, raised voices or name-calling to physical fighting. Rude behaviour in the workplace causes problems ranging from lost productivity, increased stress, a negative impact on the workplace environment and employee retention.
Four Tips for Dealing with Disrespectful Employees
1. Treat the Behaviour Problem Like a Performance Problem – Treat disrespectful behaviour seriously as you would confront and correct a significant performance problem. Apply the same measures as you would for recurring errors and unexplained absences or tardiness.
2. Be Direct – Many employees appreciate and respond to a direct approach. As a Leader, if you are indirect, this will only feed into the employee’s belligerence. However, being direct does not mean being aggressive. When addressing the issue, be specific, speak plainly and make it clear as to the expected behaviour change that is required.
3. Praise Positive Behaviour Change – It may be a challenge for the disrespectful employee to change. Initially, they might resist. As the leader, you should provide positive encouragement to the employee when you see the behaviour change. Slight, rare slip-ups might happen, and if things get worse, it will require another correcting conversation.
4. Maintain a Calm and Positive Attitude
When an employee takes to disrespecting you or being overtly condensing, it can be incredibly tempting to lose your temper. Do not. Resist the urge to shout. Instead, maintain a calm and polite exterior, and ask the employee in question if they have an issue they would like to discuss in private. As difficult as it may be, it is crucial to avoid lowering yourself to the employee’s level. Even if the employee is throwing insults and negative comments your way, you should keep your temper in check and show only your most professional face.
Sometimes you may share the responsibility in forming a state of disrespect. By being too slack in your management style, you may be encouraging an atmosphere in the workplace where employees feel they have little direction. If you are direct and address these issues as you notice them quickly yet privately, you may be able to change the behaviour and improve your management style and earn your entire team’s respect.